Friday, June 17, 2016

2nd Trimester Rewind - Part 2...

Still recapping the early days of my pregnancy before a lot of the world knew what was going on with the Thoman crew...

1st Trimester rewind is HERE.

2nd Trimester reward (part 1) is HERE.

Onto the second half of my 2nd trimester.  Up until this point, everything really had been following plan #TeamBoring, but I kept waiting for some news or event to rock our world.  

Some of my first co-workers to know that I was pregnant were my softball teammates.  I had to do some confessing after early emails went out talking about who was playing, schedules, etc.  This spring marked the first time I wouldn't be playing in YEARS.  Riding the bench was no fun, but I still managed to squeeze into our cool new shirts!  It was agony not playing, but I tried my best to embrace my new head cheerleader position.

Apparently wearing Under Armour spandex will really increase your visible baby bump because I got called out (finally) by about half my building on the day that we debuted our new shirts for the season.  People were blown away that I was already 21 weeks along and had managed to keep it quiet up until that point.

I was back for another high risk appointment on April 14th and was thrilled to hear the news that my cervix had grown to 4.2cm.  At that point, I had received five of the P17 shots, so they attributed the gain to the added progesterone in my system.  Hearing the news made me feel a lot better after having been worried about my cervix for weeks!  Little man's heartbeat was steady again in the 160s.

Just hanging out and blowing bubbles in there

Have I mentioned that this kid has NO PROBLEM showing off his junk to everyone!?!?  Nick is so proud.  Remind him of that during this kid's fraternity days.

If anyone at school had managed to NOT hear the baby news yet, they definitely saw it first hand during a fire drill during week 22.  I was posted at one of the exit doors during the drill and at least 5-10 people seemed shocked to see my new expanding waist line.  My Boston Strong t-shirt might be getting tight, but there was no way I wasn't wearing my shirt proudly on Marathon Monday.

That same week we traded in our old Ford Explorer for a brand new one.  Guess that 3rd row seating is finally going to come in handy with two car seats occupying the back row.

I also managed to snap my favorite "maternity" picture to date... my kids.  Just a typical Friday night in our house... one kid headed to tball practice and another still snug-as-a-bug inside my softball jersey.

Georgia had been looking forward to voting in the presidential primaries since she first got wind of the election season (thank you, Today Show).  She was so jealous that her Auntie and cousins got to vote in NH early in the season and she could hardly wait until it was Maryland's turn.  She helped me vote, loved earning herself a sticker and then made sure her brother got a sticker too...

Starting to lose sight of my toes!

#TeamBoring was merrily on its way... until April 28th.  In retrospect, I actually predicted the drama.  I was scheduled for my typical every other week high risk appointment.  However, my high risk doct was out of town, so I had to see whomever was covering his cases that day.  This doctor was not a fan of my roller coaster blood pressure results (aka - my norm) during the appointment.  She called my OB's office and managed to speak to the on call doctor there as well.  Basically, the two doctors that I normally see were both left entirely out of this conversation (both of whom could have vouched that my high blood pressure was due to my complete nervous wreck anxiety!).  

So, early the next morning I headed to my regular OB's office for an "emergency visit."  Not surprisingly, my blood pressure was totally normal (as it usually is at their office).  All the nurses were ready to send me on my way until the doctor said he still had to see me.  Again, not my regular doctor, but whomever was in the office that day seeing patients.  Cue the 20 minute discussion about how perhaps my BP issues could be due to pre-eclampsia.  All it took was one mention of early delivery, preemie, etc. and I was a sobbing hysterical mess in the doctor's office.  I think even the doctor was surprised by my reaction as he quickly started explaining that it was probably nothing, but that we had to check it out.

Did I mention the date yet?  April 29, 2016.  G's 5th birthday.  So, instead of celebrating at home with my true miracle baby, I was at the doctor's office talking about possibly having to deliver her brother early... way too early.  To say I was a mess was an understatement.  Thank goodness for the nurses at the office who dealt with me as I sobbed.  Talk about creating a headache for the remainder of the day.

Why did I react so strongly?  Honestly, part of me had been waiting for 20+ weeks for "something" to go wrong.  Part of me was just pissed that this was all going down because my doctor was out of town.  Part of me was livid that it was happening on Georgia's birthday.  Part of me was in absolute disbelief that not only could I be having a preemie again, but if my BP was so bad, he was going to be a micro-preemie.  So, when the floodgates opened, they weren't to be stopped.

I left the doctor's office and headed home minus a few pints of blood and with a gigantic container to collect 24 hours worth of urine!  Yup, it was as gross as it sounded.  Since my blood pressure had gotten flagged, they had to have me do a 24 hour urine collection to ensure there was no protein in there.  I refused to do the collection on G's birthday or the day after (the day of her party), so Sunday marked the big collection day.  Not the highlight of the weekend or my pregnancy.

Heading off to G's birthday party

At least after all the drama at the doctor's office, I came home to this notification on my phone...

I was silently praying that we wouldn't have to test the limits of 24 weeks viability!

I had to wait until Tuesday afternoon before my doctor's office called to reveal that all my blood work and urinalysis came back completely normal.  Thank god.  But... what a gigantic waste of time, tears, etc.  These people were not on my NO DRAMA train!

Ironically, every time Nick tried to feel the baby kick early on, the baby would immediately stop and Nick would walk away disappointed.  The first time Georgia tried to feel him kick was successful!  She put her head on my tummy and he kicked her... right in the face.  She hasn't let him forget that.  Finally, on May 6th, Nick felt his first legitimate kick!

When I first discovered that I was pregnant and that the pregnancy appeared to be viable, I made myself a list of GOALS.  The 1st goal was to make it to the end of the 1st trimester (2/26/16).  Goal #2 was spring break week from week.  Some of the goals were "silly" (aka - Goal 3 was my co-worker returning from her maternity break), while others were much more important to me (Goal 4 - G's birthday/24 weeks pregnant).  The goal list has been a way for me to check the days off the calendar and also to mark important milestones along the way.

Goal #5 - Make it to Mother's Day!

Goal #6 - Make it to Nick's birthday and Georgia's kindergarten orientation!  I just couldn't imagine not being there for such a big day for Georgia since she is so excited about going to kindergarten next year.  

On May 19th, we headed to another high risk appointment in the morning and then onto kindergarten orientation in the afternoon.  Just another day of "parenting" the kids.  Our high risk appointment went well - baby's heart rate was 161 and I officially graduated to only having to go to the high risk specialist every three weeks (instead of every other week, which I had been doing since week #12).

How did she get so big?!?!

Georgia greeted me one morning with a little surprise bump for me...

My mini-me

And another milestone met!

I also started to get my act together and started to organize the baby's closet...

And then Goal #7 arrived and for the first time, I finally felt like we just might make it.... May 23rd (aka - 27 weeks, 3 days).  I had officially made it past the mark where my water broke with Georgia and I was put onto hospital bed rest the last time around.  

I had an appointment with my regular OB that day and re-took the 1 hour gestational diabetes test.  We joked that I had NEVER passed the 1 hour test.  I had failed with Georgia and I had failed earlier in the pregnancy.  We debated just skipping right to the 3 hour test, but we decided to go for the gamble and see what happened this time around.

The next morning, my phone rang very early in the day.  I immediately recognized the phone number and picked up to hear a very familiar voice... the doctor who had made me cry about the possible pre-eclampsia scare.  However, this time, he was my new BFF.  He told me that I should definitely bet some money on the Derby because somehow I squeezed out a pass on the 1 hour gestational diabetes test... by 1 point!!

And with that, my 2nd trimester came to an end.  Minimal drama minus the whole dramatic blood pressure issue.  Lots of goals met.  I was about to enter a 3rd trimester... while still at home... and not on bed rest... with a growing baby in my belly.  Life was pretty good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2nd Trimester Rewind - Part 1...

In my last post recapping the 1st trimester, we had just found out the great news that all our 1st trimester blood work had come back normal with no increased risks (a step up from Georgia's blood work 5 years ago, which prompted several follow-up appointments).  

On Friday, February 19, 2016, I officially reached my first pregnancy goal... 2nd trimester!  All I wanted from the 2nd tri... BORING, BORING, BORING!

That evening, Nick was putting Georgia to bed when I received an email indicating that my high risk specialist had "released" our NIPT results to us.  I clicked on the link and immediately saw that everything looked great, but that there was also an additional link to click on if we wanted to know the baby's gender.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  Talk about turning a routine Friday night into something a little more surreal.  I patiently (aka - pacing in the kitchen) waited for Nick to come downstairs so that we could click on the link.  To say we were blown away was an understatement...

Note the time of this email arriving... 8:49pm.  Just a typical Friday night finding out that you're having a BABY BOY... and that you need to charge your phone!

We sat in complete silence for several minutes.  Every now and again, one of us would say "It's a boy!"  For some reason, we were both 100% convinced that we would be having another baby girl. Why?  Mainly because my pregnancy with Georgia was so similar - I felt great (minus the 1st trimester bronchitis), no morning sickness, the old wives tales of high heart rates indicating baby girls, etc.  We also just assumed that Nick would always be surrounded by 100% estrogen in this house.  

Welcome to modern times... finding out that you're having a baby boy via your gmail account.

Pretty sure this is the last picture of me in regular jeans!

Our first friends to learn the news were Kate and Chan as we headed off to their DC goodbye party... at a bar.  Yet again, it was fake drink or come out of the closet.  It felt so great telling SOMEONE the news!  I've known Kate since we were 18 years old... she's also a great secret keeper!  

Saying goodbye to Kate!

Thanks to leggings and a never-ending winter, my co-workers were none the wiser to my big news.  However, during week 14/15, I let my principal and teammates in on the secret.  My teammates were blown away and couldn't believe that I had kept the secret for that long.  My principal was one of the last to know as she was out all week.  The assistant principal finally dragged me into a closet and made me stay there while she hunted her down and made her come find me!

Nick still wasn't 100% convinced we were having a boy and was certain that our next ultrasound would confirm his suspicions.  However, at my next 2 week high risk appointment on February 29, 2016, team boy was confirmed.  Our little guy was already measuring right around 5oz and had a strong heartbeat of 163.

As much as I loved having appointments every 2 weeks and getting to see baby all the time, it was also a new worry.  Every time I went, they would check my cervix length.  Even the doctor admitted that my cervix was never an issue during my pregnancy with Georgia, but it was standard as part of the 2 week protocol.  So, it became a new number for me to obsess and worry about at each appointment!  It didn't help when I found out that it's initial length was determined to be around 3.0 (the very low end of average).  My blood pressure was also an issue at every high risk appointment.  No matter what I did when walking into the place, I could instantly feel my anxiety rise.  Luckily, my doctor figured out that my BP issues were 100% related to anxiety and would give me time to calm down, find out everything was okay at the appointment, have the nurse re-check my BP and then send me on my way.

Thanks to having gestational diabetes with Georgia, I was forced to take an early glucose test during this pregnancy.  On March 7, 2016, I found out that I failed the 1 hour test by 5 points, which meant that I had to go in for the longer 3 hour test the following week.  My high risk specialist was fairly confident that I would pass since I only failed by 5 points.  I wasn't so confident, especially after the comedy show of errors that was my 3 hour test with Georgia.

Up about 10 pounds and time for maternity jeans!

On March 11, I received a great phone call from our insurance company that the P17 shots that my high risk specialist had ordered were going to be approved.  Apparently the shots are super expensive.  However, I'm sure Blue Cross compared that cost to Georgia's $1 million dollar NICU bill and decided that the shots were a cheaper and more practical option for me.

On March 14, I was back at the high risk specialist and all looked great with baby with a strong heartbeat of 155.  Baby was super shy, so no great pictures from that appointment.  Although, yet again, he was not shy with proving that he was a boy... still (much to Nick's relief).  It's become a running joke that the doctor asks, "Do you still want a boy?" at each appointment.

That was quite a busy week as my P17 meds arrived at the house and my new nurse came over to give me my first injection.  At each appointment, she checks my vitals and then gives me the injection into my lower hip/buttocks area.  Nick was so relieved to see her in the driveway!  I think he was having nightmares about having to inject me himself.  I can't say the shot feels great, but if it does its job with keeping my uterus happy, I'm all for it.  Heck, if the doctors told me to stand on my head for 12 hours/day, I would totally do it.  So far, so good and I've had no reactions to the shot - just some slight stinging at the injection site.

There goes the waistline!

The luck of the Irish must have been with me because on March 17, 2016, I found out that I passed my 3 hour glucose test.  Woot woot!  10 more weeks of carbs!  Not that I didn't enjoy my chicken breast with a side of chicken breast while pregnant with Georgia, but I was thrilled to be able to keep eating what I wanted... for at least another trimester!  I would still need to repeat the test at the beginning of my 3rd trimester, but at least I was good for now.  #TeamBoring continues!

Although my teammates at work kept telling me there were no rumors about me yet, I'm not sure how people were missing this bump!  I was starting to feel HUGE!  I  jokingly told them to spread the rumor that I was carb-loading these days.

 I was diagnosed with a UTI that week following my regular doctor's appointment.  Lovely.  Another round of antibiotics.  Make that round #3 of antibiotics for this pregnancy!!  It'll be a miracle if this kid isn't allergic to antibiotics.

We celebrated Easter weekend... while still keeping it a secret from our little bunny!  I also celebrated my personal Goal #2 - making it to spring break week at work without any drama.

Hint... it's easy to hide your bump when you bend down!

You can also use a stroller to hide your growing belly when you aren't "out" on social media yet!

We were back for our 20 week anatomy scan on March 31, 2016.  Baby boy clocked in just shy of a pound at 13oz and a strong heart rate of 163.  I had also received 3 weeks worth of P17 shots at that point.  I was definitely emotional at that appointment and it was the first time that I broke down in tears during an ultrasound.  I cried for the relief that we had made it to 20 weeks, but I cried that it was ONLY 20 weeks and I still had so much longer to go before I would feel "safe."  My poor high risk doctor kept reassuring me that everything looked great and that we were taking every precaution to ensure that I didn't have another preemie.  To say that this pregnancy has been stressful for me is a complete understatement.  Oh to be a naive pregnant lady... only in my dreams.

We officially hit the halfway mark!

Up about 15 pounds at the halfway mark!

We decided that the halfway point would also be a good time to tell Georgia.  Frankly, we were more worried at that point that someone else would say something to her or that a random stranger would ask something in front of her as my bump started to become much more obvious (and the warmer weather took away the layer option!).  So, we sat her down and told her the news and gifted her a book all about becoming a big sister.  She was so excited and didn't waste a moment telling anyone and everyone that she was going to have a baby brother!

I took her shopping with me that weekend and let her pick out an outfit for the baby.  She picked out the one that said "baby brother!"  Well if that just didn't make my heart explode...

Onto the back half of the pregnancy.  I wish I could say that I was feeling confident at this point, but truthfully, I think I was more nervous than ever.  The Georgia drama didn't ramp up until week 25ish, so I really felt like the most emotionally/psychologically challenging part of this pregnancy was approaching as the weeks when all of her drama occurred were upon us.

Monday, June 13, 2016

1st Trimester Rewind...

**Thank you so much for all the amazing text messages, emails, voice mails, etc. after we announced our big news on Friday!  We know we have lots of amazing friends and family in our cheering squad and your support means the world to us!  #TeamBoring**

Since most of our friends/family had absolutely no idea that we were expecting during the first trimester, here's a little rewind to those early days...

We found out that we were pregnant on a Friday morning... December 11, 2015.  In terms of timing, it meant that I had to skip out on the open bar at Nick's holiday party (memo to self --- never get pregnant the weekend before a big/fun gala with an open bar!!).  I "pretended" to sip on a glass of something all night long to fool his co-workers and our family at the party... while shooting jealous looks at everyone and their fun drinks!

A day after finding out that we were going to be a family of 4!

I turned 36 just a few days after we found out that we were expecting.  Still feeling great, I completed my annual birthday tradition... running 3.6 miles for 36 years.  That might be a rough 3.7 miles next December just 3-4 months postpartum, especially if I have to have another c-section.

On December 18, 2015, we found out the great news that my beta numbers were doubling appropriately and that the pregnancy appeared to be viable (I had previous pregnancies where my numbers looked atrocious right from the start and those that crashed and burned after initially looking good.).  I was still a nervous wreck during those early weeks, especially with multiple losses still fresh in my mind, but this felt like a first "baby" step in the right direction.  

I managed to snap a picture right at 5 weeks to document the "beginning" of the process as we headed out to National Harbor for the day...

Even as I took these pictures, I was so nervous that I would jinx everything.  In fact, I then skipped several weeks purposefully thinking that I wouldn't want those pictures on my phone if we miscarried again.  I didn't even upload them into my computer until well into my 2nd trimester.

Heading home to Massachusetts for Christmas break and not telling anyone was tough.  I figured the hardest part was going to be turning down drink offers over the holiday week.  Turns out, the toughest part was getting ridiculously sick and just surviving the week.  I woke up on Christmas morning with pinkeye and the start of a sore throat.  Within a few days, I was at the walk-in clinic in my home town and was given a round of antibiotics for my "extremely swollen glands."  Not the most memorable of Christmas weeks when you feel like death the whole time, but everyone also had no trouble believing that I had no interest in a glass of wine.  It was also the start of just being exhausted.  Not sure if that was from the pregnancy or the illness, but I caught myself more than once just nodding off and craving sleep.

Christmas Eve 2015

Unfortunately, I remained sick all week long... and all 1st trimester long.  I was blessed to not have any morning sickness or nausea with this pregnancy.  However, I made up for it by being "sick" for just about the entire 1st trimester.  Pinkeye, sinusitis, bronchitis, etc.  As I told my doctor, "my immune system seems to have left the building."  Mini fun-fact --- you cannot cough out your uterus - I asked... not my proudest moment.  I don't think I slept much for several weeks.  Coughing all night long when you can't take any medication is not fun.

We returned to Maryland and had our first sonogram on January 4, 2016.  I was a nervous wreck!  I felt horrible with a head cold, was coughing like crazy and still had no morning sickness. I ran out from work in the middle of the day for the appointment and Nick joined me at the doctor's office.  Luckily, the technician knew my history and said "there's the heartbeat" almost immediately.  I can't even explain the sense of relief.  The little bub had a heartbeat rate of 161bpm at 7 weeks, 3 days (old wives tales claim that a high heart rate = baby girl, so our assumption was that another baby girl would be joining our family!).

They invited Nick to take a video clip of the sono...

Unfortunately, our bubble of happiness came to a brief, but scary halt on the morning of January 8, 2016.  I was home sick from work with a new diagnosis of bronchitis and had been up all night coughing away.  I woke up to bleeding.  For me, bleeding while pregnant had never ended well.  So, I immediately called the doctor and they rushed me right into the office.  Even though 1st trimester bleeding is not completely uncommon, with my history, they knew I was a hot mess and needed reassurance that everything was okay.  Within an hour of me calling the doctor's office, we breathed a sigh of relief as the baby was right where we last saw him/her and the heartbeat rate was still going strong in the 170s.  I was diagnosed with a small subchorionic hematoma, which was not a new diagnosis for me.  I had a large hematoma while pregnant with Georgia and bled for the entire 1st trimester with her.  I can't say I was pleased to be bleeding again, but it was light and tapered off within a few days.  My cough did not!

Most women don't get as much attention as I did during my 1st trimester, but with my loss history, I was poked and prodded quite a bit... and never minded!  It helped ease my anxiety.  On January 18, 2016, we were back for another sonogram.  Again, all was well and baby's heartbeat was a rapid 181bpm at 9 weeks, 3 days.

This baby is definitely a mover and a shaker.  Georgia always just hung out with her feet above her head (more of a concern for her teen years).  This one doesn't stop moving and doing flips.  The ultrasound techs earn every penny of their pay trying to get measurements.

Around 10 weeks, the coughing finally subsided.  It didn't go away entirely (at least not for the next 4-6 weeks), but I was starting to feel semi-normal again.  It's amazing what some sleep can do for a person.

I also got a bonus week to recover from the coughing when Maryland got hit by a blizzard at the end of January!  Getting out of shoveling almost 3 feet of snow was definitely a highlight of the 1st trimester.  Though I did have to come up with a few excuses as to why I wasn't out back sledding with the neighborhood crew.  It was also tough to not let the news slip to Mimi when she was in town later in the week.

Back for another appointment during the first week of February and all still going well... and baby starting to actually look like a baby and not just a blob on scans!

I can't even tell you how great it felt to go for a short run again... I ended up taking off most of the 1st trimester due to my never-ending cough and the bronchitis that would never die.

On February 11, 2016, I finally got to see my high risk specialist again for my NT scan.  I hadn't seen him since the summer of 2015 when I went to visit him after our 3rd miscarriage.  I love him (and his South African accent!).  He's very calm, has a great bedside manner and an even better sense of humor.  The best part of the appointment was hearing that everything looked great.  I was told that I had an anterior placenta, which also occurred with Georgia (meaning, it takes longer to feel those baby kicks).  

Due to my "advanced maternal age," our insurance covered NIPT testing, which would test for the most common chromosomal conditions, as well as tell us the gender.  With Georgia, all looked well at the NT scan, but it was all drama when the blood work showed an increase risk for down's syndrome and required more blood work, as well as a few weeks of anxiety and worry.  So, our fingers were crossed that everything would come back normal this time around considering I already had enough worry and anxiety surrounding this pregnancy.  Finding out the gender this early was just going to be a bonus (that I was dying to know!)... though Nick and I were both convinced it was a girl.

The other news during that appointment... due to Georgia's premature birth, I was required to see the high risk specialist every 2 weeks.  Truthfully, seeing the baby was the only thing that made me feel better, so I had no problem with the frequent appointments.  He also put in an order for weekly P17 shots through my insurance, which he assumed I would qualify for due to my history of preterm labor.  Nick immediately started worrying that he was going to have to inject me weekly with a giant needle.  However, we quickly learned that a home health nurse would be assigned to us and she would come to the house weekly to stab me!  

Nick and I celebrated the great news by heading out to a Valentine's Day dinner in DC that weekend.  Our waiter might have been one of the first people on the planet to find out that we were expecting (and thanks to the bartender for mixing me up a safe, but fun drink!)...

Proud to still be wearing my regular jeans and buttoning them all the way up!

We also celebrated Georgia's 1st dance recital, as well as Mimi's birthday that weekend.  We let Mimi in on our big news as part of her birthday celebration.  She was pretty shocked to unwrap a present with a framed baby sonongram picture inside!  Not exactly what she was expecting when I told her we had a secret present for her that she needed to open after Georgia went to bed.  I think she was slightly terrified!

She has no idea that she's going to be a big sister next summer!

A few days later on February 16, 2016, I got the call from the high risk's office that all my initial blood work came back indicating no problems and no increased risks!  WOO HOO.  I was in the Target parking lot when I got the great news...

A peanut allergy Mama means you celebrate by inhaling peanut butter cups in a parking lot and then immediately brushing your teeth and scrubbing down like a surgeon heading into the OR!

Stay tuned for the 2nd trimester update... including finding out whether we would be team boy or girl (and the crazy modern way we found out!!), early glucose testing, my new weekly injection, and all the other fun that happens when our news slowly started to go public!